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Brendan Egan

Stop For One Moment Today

First of all happy Friday- the weekend is almost here.  We’re all busy–especially at the end of the week trying to wrap up all our projects, return all our phone calls, respond to all our emails–and as we talked about in yesterday’s blog post being a small business owner or employee at a small business isn’t an easy task–but let’s take a minute to reflect on those around us.

Just a few weeks ago I was having a long, rough day.  It seemed like everything I did I ran into some sort of red tape, a roadblock, or another problem was created every time I fixed a problem.  My frustration level was high and my tolerance was quite low.  Add to this my internet cutting in and out, my phone dropping calls, my coffee spilled on an important document, and my email inbox was getting fuller and fuller by the second.  I think this was a perfect recipe for a downright terrible day.

I decided to turn on the radio to relax a little bit and unwind with some music in the background.  I turned on my favorite station and the usual music wasn’t there–instead there was a 36 hour radiothon going on.  Great, I thought to myself, another radiothon trying to raise money for some b/s charity that spends 90% of their money on corporate expenses and 10% on the actual cause they support.  Then I heard what the charity was and realized it wasn’t a charity at all–it was probably one of the most important institutions in Chicago– Children’s Memorial Hospital–a leader in research, development, and care not just here in Chicago but around the world.

About 30 seconds later they played a tape recorded for the radiothon of a 7 year old boy who was born with a condition that there was no cure for.  He bravely recalled the first 3 years of his life–spending Christmas, his birthday, and nearly every other holiday in Children’s Memorial Hospital.  But he wasn’t sad at all–he was grateful that this place existed and that the wonderful staff there took care of him with the attention and compassion that they all contain.  He was glad he was fortunate enough to live in Chicago and have access to a world class medical facility.  But he was most grateful that donations were funding research and these very donations lead to a potential treatment and cure for his disease.  After fighting for his whole life, he was now on the path to a cure and had a great chance of being cured and living a perfectly normal life.

I stepped back and thought to myself that my day wasn’t going nearly as bad as I thought it was anymore.  In fact I was having a pretty good day, a great day, an excellent day.  My day was nothing compared to the thousands of kids in that hospital, or the hundreds of thousands of soldiers fighting overseas without their families, or the millions of people living with fatal diseases.  I couldn’t help but step away from my work to make a donation to support this wonderful cause, and I couldn’t help but spend the rest of my day remembering how this event made me see my day in a completely different light.

Now I know, running a small business isn’t easy, but step back and remember how much easier it is than some of the other things in the world that people are battling. I wonder how many other people were touched by the story of that 7 year old boy, and how many people’s days his story transformed.  For me, I know my perspective changed and I was having a much better day.